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Chiropractic for dogs
Holistic medicine is not just for humans, pets are benefiting too.
Alternative therapies like acupuncture are helping animals and in the last decade, chiropractic work has become a complimentary practice along side vet care.
Channel three's Kathryn Daniel takes us for an appointment.
Molly the Maltese was in major trouble.
"She would walk a few steps and then flop over."
X-rays showed degenerative joint disease. Pain meds and anti-inflammatories made molly loopy.
Owner, Marcy Moreland's, husband had an idea.
"He had back problems himself years ago and chiropractic had helped, so he thought, maybe they have such a thing for animals."
They do. Doctor Ellen Neal's been a human chiropractor for thirty years. For the last five she's also been a certified veterinarian chiropractor.
Her interest sparked by a guide dog puppy she trained and later adopted that had severe hip displaysia.
Neal's research to help Stevie spurred her to an intense training program and she now treats pets two days a week at her longtime Pensacola practice.
"I tell my clients that, i say, i don't know if this is gonna made a difference, but i can tell you the work i do it so gentle, it's not going to hurt your dog."
After two adjustments molly was off her meds and back to her bouncy self.
"She's a happy dog again, with happy owners."
Neal says she is looking for joints that aren't working properly. She feels and palpates for spasms and joints that are out of alignment in the spine and extremities.
She says even subtle shifts, just millimeters, can cause nerve damage and pain.
She uses a low force but highly specific activator to adjust and align.
Neals says when motion is restored. The body can heal.
Is it really that simple?
"You'll have to ask the dogs. You can see by their demeanor and how they act."
Melanie Williams says Bandit's back arthritis was so bad, he paced and panted for eight hours straight.
After regular adjustments, he no longer needs medicine or surgery.
"People have definitely said, what?? But if they had seen what Bandit was suffering through and seen him afterwards there's also no question in my mind that I'm doing the right thing for him."
The first appointment costs sixty dollars, later visits are 35.
"In many ways, it is really a luxury for people, but then again, sometimes we can circumvent a lot of other testing , a lot of other treatments."
Beth Hudson's border collies, Indy and Heidi, are world class champion athletes that compete in four canine sports.
She used to travel to New Orleans for chiro work if they were strained in competition. Now, they see Neal ahead of events.
"We're using it more as a preventative now too, cause if we keep them adjusted then they're less likely to get injured."
Neal says animal chiropractic work does not replace vet care. She'll only treat a pet if they are referred or authorized by a veterinarian.
She says the next frontier of animal medicine is rehab and physical therapy. She already weaves a bit of that into her practice.
Neal has a soft spot for her seniors like Bandit, and it's her honor to ease him into old age as pain free as possible.
"They give us so much to be able to give them that in their last years, it's really important."
Kathryn Daniel, Channel Three News.